Lowndes County notified the VDT that it was actually their sewer line (not Valdosta’s) that broke this week, but there’s still nothing on the Lowndes County website, not on the front page, not under Utilities, and not under County Clerk. So the Lowndes County government did sort of come clean about its sewer problem, but you have to know where to look to see them washing. And they actually fixed the problem by dumping county sewage into Valdosta’s sewer main, which presumably means it ends up in the same Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant that the county has seemed to mostly regard as the city’s problem and not theirs.
In the VDT 26 April 2013, Lowndes County Notification of Sewer Spill, Lowndes County Commission,
VALDOSTA — At 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 25, Lowndes County was notified that a sewer main break west of Interstate 75, on the south side of Highway 133, previously believed to be a City of Valdosta sewer main, was actually a Lowndes County main. The flow was diverted by 4:00 p.m. into the City of Valdosta sewer system and by 5 a.m. on Friday, April 26, the force main repair was complete and back in service.
A force main broke, releasing approximately 1.32 million gallons over the course of approximately 40 hours, some of which reached the Withlacoochee River. Lowndes County notified the State EPD and reported the spill and sampling points were established to monitor the river.
WALB carried Valdosta City PR 27 April 2013, Lowndes County takes responsibility for sewage spill, with video.
“The city has a 54-inch gravity main and a 8-inch jail main in that area, so we made an assumption that it was our line and immediately began mobilizing staff and equipment to excavate and repair the leaking main,” said Utilities Director Henry Hicks. “We were not 100 percent sure this was our line, so we ran dye through the system. When the dye didn’t show up at the site, we were convinced it was not a city main and were also able to confirm this information with the contractor.”
Once Lowndes County verified it was their line, they took over the repair process. To assist Lowndes County in stopping the sewer overflow as quickly as possible, the City of Valdosta offered to allow Lowndes County to pump their sewage into the city’s 54-inch line, which immediately stopped the flow of sewage into the river and prevented any further spill and violations during the repair process.
“Lowndes County would have to either allow the sewage to flow into the river or pump into our system,” said Hicks. “We agreed to help them by allowing them to pump their sewage into our 54-inch main taking the flow off their force main until the repair can be completed. We are glad to help, understanding these issues can happen to anyone.”
Meanwhile, Valdosta’s PR is on the Valdosta city website.